The National Council for Combating Discrimination (CNCD) has fined the president of the Hungarian People’s Party (EMNP) in Transylvania, István Csomortányi, for a photo showing him (and his colleagues) performing a Nazi salute.
The president of the CNCD, Csaba Asztalos, told G4Media that the decision was unanimously accepted by the council, as Csomortányi violated the dignity of an ethnic minority and the memory of the Nazi regime’s victims. As a result, the council ruled to fine Csomortányi 5,000 RON (~€1,046) and forced him to display the CNCD’s ruling on the party’s official website in both Hungarian and Romanian.
According to Asztalos, the Nazi salute – no matter how long ago the photo was taken – is beyond the limits of free speech and they have followed the procedure that applies to situations when Nazi symbols are used. They also considered the fact that Csomortányi is the president of a political party, Asztalos added.
Earlier this year, a picture surfaced on Facebook showing Csomortányi and his friends performing a Nazi salute and displaying a controversial flag used by right-wing Hungarian extremists. The picture ignited a political scandal in Romania. At first, Csomortányi claimed it was a manipulated photo, but later Hungarian news portal Maszol reported the existence of a full series of such pictures and posted another, yet unseen image to which they had access.
Title image: István Csomortányi and his friends performing a Nazi salute. Image source: Facebook